Wet Runway Shower: Dresses Dissolve in Spring 2016 Fashion Collection

Renowned for his experimental designs, British/Turkish/Cypriot fashion designer, Hussein Chalayan, has once again created a unique runway show  and collection. Read on for more on his innovative water-soluble Spring 2016 fashion ensembles.

Forever alive on the silver screen, Gene Kelly cheerfully sang and danced in the rain, but despite the deft and graceful magic of his moves, he couldn't make his umbrella dissolve. This type of high-tech enchantment would come decades later, with the advent of the works of an exciting and highly unconventional designer named Hussein Chalayan. Using the medium of the fashion runway, he has created a show worthy of a colorful circus act with his water-soluble dresses.


Water-Soluble DressesWater-Soluble Dresses


Runway shows and Hussein Chalayan

Runway shows by their very nature can be dazzling extravaganzas that have the power to both attract and distract viewers from the clothes and models on display. Sometimes, however, it is the clothes themselves that are the spectacle and not the other trappings. This is the case with Hussein Chalayan who considers fashion design to be as much an industrial product as an art. His 2016 Spring Fashion Show, which was held recently in Paris at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, was the site of the most fashionable shower anyone has ever taken.

His former collections

London-based Chalayan is fascinated with scientific disciplines especially those that utilize digital technology. His extraordinary creations represent an amalgam of LEDs, lasers and holograms. Previous works have ranged from a coffee table that converts into an A-Line  midi-skirt, and The Tangent Flows collection in which he buried a collection of oxidized silk dresses in a friend's garden for months. British retailer, Browns, promptly bought and displayed all the dresses. Some of his ultra modern designs include dresses comprised of moving airplane parts; a robot dress laden with Swarovski crystals and Tyvek garments that look like furniture  and can be folded down to the size of a conventional envelope. There is a playful. peek-a-boo, I-see-you element to his wondrous shows.


Coffee Table/A-Line Midi SkirtCoffee Table/A-Line Midi Skirt


The history of a fashion genius

For Chalayan, the only boundaries are those defined by his own imagination, both in terms of wearable innovative materials and technologies. In 1989, he began studying at Central St. Martins where he quickly became notorious for his outrageous designs. In 1994, he established his own company, Cartesia, Ltd., and his namesake, ready-to-wear line, Chalayan.


Hussein ChalayanHussein Chalayan


Considered complex and highly intellectual, his trademark innovative blend of art, design and science have won many accolades and he has showcased his avant-garde collections in some of the most prominent art museums in the world including: the Palais du Louvre; London's Design Museum; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.

He hs been awarded the prestigious 'Designer of The Year' award at the British Fashion Awards in 1999 and 2000, as well as being recognized as a 'Design Star' at the 2007 Fshion Group International Awards.

The Spring Summer 2016 Water Soluble Collection

His most current collection shown at Paris Fashion Week features a catwalk shower that dissolves two water-soluble outfits. For the first half of the show, two models stood on a raised platform in the center of the catwalk wearing thigh-length jackets. A portion of low ceiling punctured by holes was positioned above the models. As water cascaded through the holes,the jackets began to disintegrate, revealing another hidden look underneath; dresses comprised of Swarovski jewels and intricate black appliques.

What is Hussein Chalayan's legacy?

There's no telling what's next for Hussein Chalayan as there is always another envelope to push somewhere. Perhaps unspoken is his 'mad scientist' mantra that  'far out isn't far enough.' In any case, for young and up- and-coming designers his work is encouraging because by its very nature it stresses the importance of always finding something to new to create; doing something that has never been done before. This is innovation in its purest form and the quintessence of true creative energy.

Closing thoughts on innovation:

Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things. ~ Theodore Levitt

Does Chalayan's incredible imagination challenge and inspire YOU to create something different?